The Walking Dead Universe is making a brand new start of it in old New York. Sunday's June 18th series premiere of AMC spin-off The Walking Dead: Dead City drew the most-watched drama series debut of 2023 on cable, based on same-day Nielsen ratings, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 683,000 viewers tuned in to watch the "Old Acquaintances" premiere Sunday on AMC, which made the episode available early to subscribers of its AMC+ streaming service on Thursday, June 15th.
When counting replays and simulcasts on AMC Networks' BBC America and IFC channels, Dead City's on-air ratings totaled 1.12 million viewers, with 283,000 composing the core adults 25-54 demographic. THR reports that number is also the best for a cable drama series premiere in 2023.
The premiere, reuniting Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) years after November's Walking Dead series finale, is now the most-watched series premiere for AMC+ in viewers and acquisition, meaning the number of subscribers who signed up to stream The Walking Dead: Dead City. "Old Acquaintances" beat out "The Witching Hour" series premiere of Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches, which dethroned the "In Throes of Increasing Wonder..." premiere of AMC's Interview With the Vampire. That also means the ratings outperformed previous TWDU spin-offs The Walking Dead: World Beyond and Tales of the Walking Dead.
Dead City reportedly brought in more same-day viewers than Interview With the Vampire (622,000), Mayfair Witches (577,000), and Tales of the Walking Dead (572,000). The Walking Dead's "Rest in Peace" series finale, which was simulcast on AMC and AMC+ on November 20th, remains the single most-watched episode ever on AMC+ with a record-setting 3.1 million viewers watching on the streamer.
"We are thrilled so many viewers joined Maggie and Negan in the streets of Manhattan for the first episode of The Walking Dead: Dead City," said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. "The thrill ride keeps rolling from here, and we can't wait for the fans to see all the twists and turns in the city that never sleeps. Turns out walkers don't sleep, either."
At six episodes, Dead City sends rivals Maggie and Negan into post-apocalyptic Manhattan to rescue Maggie's son, Hershel (Logan Kim), from one of Negan's former Savior underlings known only as the Croat (Željko Ivanek). The series has been well-reviewed, scoring a 70% "fresh" approval from critics on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
New episodes of The Walking Dead: Dead City premiere Thursdays on AMC+ and Sundays on AMC. If you missed the series premiere, read our Dead City Season 1 Episode 1 recap.